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What is the best computer “burn-in” or stability testing software?
How can I thoroughly test all the hardware on my computer?

I been having computer troubles lately and I want to run some tests to check if my hardware is working as it should.

I am wondering if anyone knows some tools (hopefully free) that can aid me in this.

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If I could find the community wiki I would have(thought it was gotten rid off) and I seen many times people done this...... –  chobo2 Oct 28 '11 at 16:08
    
Well I think I have a reputation of more than 10 but I don't see that checkbox. I don't even see it on my stack account. –  chobo2 Oct 28 '11 at 16:13
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Ultimate Boot CD is the way to go. It has tons of tests for various types of hardware all built into single bootable CD with a handy, easy to navigate menu. It is even customizable, so you can add anything you feel is missing. –  MaQleod Oct 28 '11 at 16:51
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I have been thinking – before someone closes this as a duplicate (e.g. of this one), we could try to make this a really awesome community wiki canonical Q/A and then close all other posts as duplicates of this? –  slhck Oct 28 '11 at 17:00
    
@slhck - Why not update and improve one of the pre-existing one(s)? –  techie007 Oct 28 '11 at 18:07
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marked as duplicate by Nifle, Simon Sheehan, 8088, techie007, studiohack Nov 10 '11 at 16:27

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

2 Answers

Hard drive Tests

  • SeaTools

    SeaTools is a comprehensive, easy-to-use diagnostic tool that helps you quickly determine the condition of the disk drive in your external hard drive, desktop or laptop computer. It includes several tests that will examine the physical media on your Seagate or Maxtor disk drive and any other non-Seagate disk drive.

    If you have a hard drive that there are no manufacturer-specific diagnostics for, then SeaTools is often the best choice.

  • Western Digital Data Lifeguard Diagnostics

    Data LifeGuard Diagnostics is designed to test the physical condition of your hard drive.

    The bootable "DOS" version is host OS-independent, and (IME) tends to be more accurate than the Windows version.


Memory Tests

  • MemTest86+

    Based on the well-known original memtest86 written by Chris Brady, memtest86+ is a port by some members of the x86-secret team. Our goal is to provide an up-to-date and completly reliable version of this software tool aimed at memory failures detection.

    Memtest86+ is, like the original, released under the terms of the Gnu Public License (GPL). No restrictions for use, private or commercial exist other than the ones mentioned in the Gnu Public License (GPL).

  • Windows 7 - Memory Diagnostics Tool


Graphic Card Tests

  • Futuremark's 3D Mark/PC Mark

    From Wikipedia:

    3DMark is a computer benchmarking tool created and developed by Futuremark Corporation (formerly MadOnion.com and initially Futuremark) to determine the performance of a computer's 3D graphic rendering and CPU workload processing capabilities.

    PCMark is a computer benchmark tool developed by Futuremark to test the performance of a PC at the system and component level.


CPU Tests

  • Prime95

    From Wikipedia:

    Prime95 is the name of the Microsoft Windows-based software application written by George Woltman that is used by GIMPS, a distributed computing project dedicated to finding new Mersenne prime numbers.

    Over the years, Prime95 has become extremely popular among PC enthusiasts and overclockers as a stability testing utility. It includes a "Torture Test" mode designed specifically for testing PC subsystems for errors in order to help ensure the correct operation of Prime95 on that system. This is important because each iteration of the Lucas-Lehmer depends on the previous one; if one iteration is incorrect, so will be the entire primality test.


Motherboard Tests

None yet.


Multi-Component Testers

  • Ultra-X's QuickTech Pro

    QuickTech Professional, Ultra-X's professional-level PC diagnostic software program, is designed to meet the rigorous testing needs of system developers and integrators, OEM's, technicians, MIS professionals, and end users who want to quickly and accurately test, troubleshoot and Burn-In system components, functions and peripherals.

    This package can test mainbaord components, RAM, HDDs, optical and floppy drives, COM and LPT ports, etc. They offer lesser software packages, and hardware-based testing devices as well

  • StressLinux

    Stresslinux is a minimal Linux distribution intended for people who want to test their hardware under high load and monitor stability and thermal environment.

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It would be great if somebody added a little explanation on what these tools do. –  slhck Oct 28 '11 at 16:57
    
Fantastic post. –  Nic Nov 3 '11 at 4:15
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For general troubles, the likeliest things that are going wrong are your hard drive, or your memory. If your processor temps are unusually high, then that might also be a place to look.

Erratic and bizarre behavior can often be the result of bad memory. For memory testing, memtest86+ is the gold standard.

To test hard drive corruption, the first thing you'd want to do is run chkdsk /f, or another filesystem verification tool. This does NOT check bad blocks (unless you use the /r switch), just the integrity of the filesystem. You'd also want to use a SMART verification tool to check to see if there are a large number of bad sectors, which would aid in confirming if it is indeed a hard drive problem.

Use CoreTemp to check your CPU temps. If they are abnormally high (more than 30-40 deg C idle, and more than 60 deg C under load), you might want to crack your computer open and dust off the heatsink, and possibly even reapply some thermal paste. If your temps are fine, but you suspect a faulty processor or an unstable overclock, I suggest using IntelBurnTest. This is a far more intensive program than Prime95, and it'll flush out any procssor errors in minutes, versus hours. 10 runs should be enough to reasonably verify stability. However, be warned that your pcoessor will get very hot during this test, so watch your temps!

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